Tag Archives: soundscape

Seeing Without Knowing (2) / Sacred Spaces

It’s been quite a while since I’ve posted on here – writing a dissertation will do that unfortunately. The upside is, I will post abridged versions of each chapter from my dissertation (examining the value of music in wellbeing on a mental, pysical and educational level) on here for you to digest and enjoy over the summer.

However, I wished to update you on my Sound Art piece, originally entitled “Seeing Without Knowing”.

For the time being, this project, under its initial outline, has been temporarily shelved. A large amount of its components, namely the absence of the performer, has been retained in the new project. Emerging from the ‘Seeing Without Knowing’ idea came a more specific soundscapes idea.

Using recordings of simply the ECHOES of a room, as per the original brief, the Sacred Spaces project aims to feature recordings / soundscapes from spiritual spaces and buildings throughout the world, across all cultures and religions. The first of these was recorded in Durham Cathedral on a windy and rain-filled night, April 2015. The sounds were reorganised and edited later that month using ProTools software.

You can hear the initial demo for this project here:

http://www.vimeo.com/128493094

Many thanks to Durham Cathedral for allowing us into your Sacred Space for an hour that evening. Also, many thanks to Sunderland University for the loan of microphones and recording equipment. I hope you enjoy what you hear. Please do feel free to let me know what you think!

Tim

“Seeing Without Knowing” (1)

There are many downsides to being unwell, as well as all the usual symptoms – missing uni, calling in sick for work, snot getting out on my first Friday night not gigging in ages (grr) – but there is the upside that you get more time in the house. This means all of those small, niggling tasks I’ve been putting off since moving house a few months ago are now sorted. I’m also more or less up to date with uni assignments but best of all, I’ve had time to devote to research and groundwork for my new sonic project, provisionally titled “Seeing Without Knowing”.

The premise behind the idea is simple enough: The accessibility of art to everyone

How many times have you heard people discuss ‘high art’ without any practical experience of it themselves?
In other words, think of a famous poet/playwright/composer/painter, etc – how well do you know their work? You know you SHOULD (and many cultural snobs will tell you, with great enthusiasm, what to like) but when was the last time you read poetry? Or went to an art gallery? Which brings me to my next point…

Apart from a small handful of amazing venues (The Sage Gateshead, The Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, Newcastle’s Lit. & Phil. Society Library and The Hatton Gallery amongst them) there are few opportunities to experience famous Art exhibits in the North East of England. Is this because the powers that be in at the Arts Council/Lottery Fund, etc agree with the notorious critic Brian Sewell when he said art and culture would be ‘wasted on northern monkeys)? Even the Lindisfarne Gospels were only loaned to the City of Durham before being returned to the British Museum, despite winning ‘attraction of the year’ at the North East England Tourism Awards, 2013 – perhaps it’s time to highlight this perception, in order to change it.

Similarly, what makes some forms of art ‘high art’? There are people who switch off at the thought of certain genres because of their preconception of those as ‘stuffy’ just as there are those who can critique Pop music with very little listening experience to go off. These preconceptions are echoes of cultural use and prior opinion, which got me thinking – Why not use the echoes of an event as the source of a musical work, with the original performance removed?

I’ve recently appealed via my Twitter account (@tim_guitarist) for suggestions of large, cavernous spaces in which I can record myself playing solo classical guitar. The main criteria I am interested in is a) somewhere with large amounts of natural reverb (as I intend to record the reverb separately to the guitar itself) and b) somewhere away from external noises (so underneath rail bridges or near busy roads are a no-go for sound pollution reasons). I’ve had some interesting suggestions so far, but still looking for additional inspiration – if you have any suggestions, please drop me a line.

All will be made clear, but one stage of the process I have in mind will involve free public performances, so stay tuned for updates regarding dates and locations, etc. I am also interested in particular to hear from any visual artists who may want to add an accompanying visual element to the sonic piece I aim to create. Any who read this (professional or students) who may be interested in a collaboration please drop me a line so I can outline a few more details of my plan to you.

More details to follow, but until next time…